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European Ryder Cup slugfest in the HSBC Champions in Shanghai
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By David Ferguson
China.org.cn staff reporter

Rain once again delayed play for two hours on the Saturday of the HSBC Champions Tournament at Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai, but when things did get under way there was plenty of on-course action to keep the spectators warm on what was otherwise a damp and dismal day.

The full second round was completed, and 16 groups managed to start their third round. At the end of the day two big names from the European Tour topped the leaderboard – first-round leader Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garcia sit on 10-under. Stenson had a relatively quiet day, with four birdies and one bogey to add to his first round of 65, but Garcia's round had a more Latin flavour. He did nothing of any consequence for the first thirteen holes, then an eagle on the par 5 14th sparked his game into life. Birdies followed on the 16th and again at the last, and suddenly, having been trailing other challengers by a shot or two for most of the day, he was back on top.

Stenson watches his tee-shot anxiously on 2, though there was no need for concern – he went on to birdie the hole. 

Stenson has made good use of the 3-wood in his rounds so far, preferring to sacrifice a little distance in exchange for placement and position. He has been dissatisfied with his play recently, so he is more than happy with the way his tactics have worked out so far in Shanghai: "I had a great first round and as you know I have been struggling with things a little bit lately, so it was good to get that one in. Then there was a long wait to go out there again obviously, but I was pleased with my scoring this afternoon."

Garcia had equally good reason to be satisfied with his day's work. "I stayed pretty patient, had a lot of pars and I looked like I wasn't going to birdie," he said. "The good thing was that I wasn't making any bogeys. Then I managed to finish with an eagle on 14, which obviously helped a lot, and then a couple of nice birdies on 16 and 18. It was getting quite dark on 17 and 18 and I'm glad that I didn't have to go out there again. I'm ready for tomorrow and Monday."

Still no smiles from Sergio, though he has every reason to be pleased with himself.

Still no smiles from Sergio, though he has every reason to be pleased with himself. 

There are two players a stroke behind on 9-under. One is Graeme McDowell, who will need little introduction. He came from well back in the field, making his move early with a birdie on 2, and following with six more in a 65 that was joint low score of the day. In the four holes he managed in his third round he pulled out another birdie, again on 2, to finish the day having played 22 holes in eight under par without a bogey on his card.

"I hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens and was never really out of position at all," he said. "Despite the rain yesterday I managed to get some work done on the range and I hit it much better today so I am happy."

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